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A mobile phone and web-based intervention for improving mental well-being in young people with type 1 diabetes: design of a randomized controlled trial


BACKGROUND: Young people with type 1 diabetes experience elevated levels of emotional distress that impact negatively on their diabetes self-care, quality of life, and disease-related morbidity and mortality. While the need is great and clinically significant, a range of structural (eg, service availability), psychological (eg, perceived stigma), and practical (eg, time and lifestyle) barriers mean that a majority of young people do not access the support they need to manage the emotional and behavioral challenges of type 1 diabetes. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of a fully-automated cognitive behavior therapy-based mobile phone and Web-based psychotherapeutic intervention (myCompass) for reducing mental health symptoms and diabetes-related distress, and improving positive well-being in this vulnerable patient group. METHODS: A two-arm randomized controlled trial will be conducted. Young people with type 1 diabetes and at least mild psychological distress will be recruited via outpatient diabetes centers at three tertiary hospitals in Sydney, Australia, and referred for screening to a study-specific website. Data will be collected entirely online. Participants randomized to the intervention group will use the myCompass intervention for 7 weeks, while at the same time a control group will use an active placebo program matched to the intervention on duration, mode of delivery, and interactivity. RESULTS: The primary outcome will be mental well-being (ie, depression, anxiety, diabetes-related distress, and positive well-being), for which data will be collected at baseline, post-intervention, and after 3 months follow-up. Secondary outcomes will be functional (work and social functioning and diabetes self-care), biochemical measures (HbA1c), and mental health self-efficacy. We aim to recruit 280 people into the study that will be conducted entirely online. Group differences will be analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis using mixed models repeated measures. CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that scores on the outcome measures will improve significantly for young people who use the mobile phone and Web-based intervention compared to the control group. myCompass is a public health intervention that is broadly available and free to use. If effective, the program has the capacity to provide convenient and accessible evidenced-based care to the large group of young people with type 1 diabetes who do not currently access the psychosocial support they need. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12614000974606; (Archived by WebCite at

Type Journal
ISBN 1929-0748 (Electronic) 1929-0748 (Linking)
Authors Clarke, J. ; Vatiliotis, V. ; Verge, C. F. ; Holmes-Walker, J. ; Campbell, L. V. ; Wilhelm, K. ; Proudfoot, J.;
Publisher Name JMIR Res Protoc
Published Date 2015-01-01
Published Volume 4
Published Issue 2
Published Pages e50
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version